Freshman right-hander Chris Andritsos (The Woodlands, Texas) pitched the No. 25 University of Oklahoma baseball team to a 7-1 victory over Abilene Christian at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Tuesday evening. In his debut on the mound, Andritsos went five innings and struck out five. The Sooners improved to 3-2 with their third straight win, while the Wildcats suffered their first loss of the year and dropped to 4-1.
Andritsos (1-0), who first debuted for OU on Saturday at designated hitter, cruised through the first three innings with three-up and three-down, including striking out the side in the first, to be perfect the first time through the order. He allowed a leadoff-single to start the fourth and had to work out of a two-on, nobody-out scenario. Andritsos, who also plays the infield, fielded a sacrifice-bunt attempt in front of the mound and fired to third to cut down the lead runner. He then hustled to cover the bag at first for out number two grounded to the right side and finished the frame with a strikeout.
“He was really good. I just loved his tempo and his approach,” head coachPete Hughes said of Andritsos. “He was pounding the zone. For it being his first collegiate outing, he was ready to go. We needed that. We need reliable guys in the midweek that give us a chance to win and bolster our bullpen on weekends.”
Oklahoma’s offense went to work right away as junior first baseman Jack Flansburg(Orange, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Freshman center fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) delivered Flansburg to the plate with the first run of the game on a base hit up the middle. Walker later added his second RBI of the game in the third with a sacrifice-fly to left that scored Flansburg.
“Our guys came out here ready to play,” continued Hughes. “There’s still a lot of competition going on for jobs and the urgency is there. I thought we did a good job, had a good approach and we put pressure on [ACU] every inning. That’s what you’ve got to do in a midweek game.”
The Sooners broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth with a four-run inning. Junior left fielder Ben Hollas (Longview, Texas) singled to lead off for his second of three hits in the game. Sophomore third baseman Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.)then bunted his way on and Flansburg walked to load the bases with one down. Sophomore second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) cleared the bases with a double into the right field corner that pushed the OU lead to 5-1. Junior shortstopSheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas) added to the lead with a double ripped to the right-center gap that scored Mendenhall.
In the sixth, junior designated hitter Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas), in the lineup for the fourth time in five games after sitting out 2015 to focus on football, crushed his first career home run. The shot to right made it a 7-1 lead for the Sooners. Thomas finished the game 1-for-2 with two runs and three walks, while hitting third.
Oklahoma outhit Abilene Christian, 11-5, for the game. Hollas led the way by going 3-for-4 with a run. Neuse and Mendenhall each added two hits.
Out of the bullpen, freshman RHP Ryan Madden (Westminster, Colo.) pitched a clean sixth and seventh inning. He struck out two, walked one and surrendered on hit. Freshman RHP Dylan Grove (Oklahoma City) worked around a leadoff single in the eighth by striking out a pair for a scoreless-frame and sophomore LHP Kenny Saenz(Corpus Christi, Texas) closed the door in the ninth by inducing a groundball double play to end the game.
The Sooners are back in action with their first road test of the season. Oklahoma visits Sam Houston State with the series beginning Friday, February 26 at 6:30 pm.